Corentyne bridge

Guyana’s Head of State, President Irfaan Ali, and his counterpart President of neighbouring Suriname, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, over the past four days, have been engaging on many of the issues which were brought to the fore when the Surinamese leader visited Guyana last year, and Ali’s subsequent visit.
After just a mere year, it should be pleasing for citizens of both countries that, within a week, there will be a Joint Evaluation Commission to evaluate whether the eight shortlisted companies meet the new requirements to design, build, finance and operate the Corentyne River Bridge.
To quote President Santokhi on the rapid pace of this project: “The technical advice from the maritime authorities of both countries will be included in the decision to determine where and how the quarantine bridge will be built. And this advice will include the state oil STATSOLIE study on the development of Suriname on the decision regarding the construction of the Corentyne bridge. This decision must be made within four weeks.”
It could be recalled that this transformational project had been in the pipeline for some time now, and we are very pleased that the two leaders are moving rapidly on it.
From both sides, many persons have expressed the need for such a bridge to physically link the two countries, and it is now that this is becoming a reality.
President Ali was quoted as saying: “When we look at the strategic development that will take place on both sides, we have to ensure that we get it right in terms of the development that will take place and the location of the bridge.”
It is well known that many Guyanese have taken up permanent residence in Suriname over the years, and there is a large amount of trade/business being done between the two countries. Hence, the bridge across the Corentyne River would considerably enhance trade and economic relations as well as cultural exchanges between Guyana and Suriname.
The Governments of Guyana and Suriname have recognised the enormous benefits the bridge can bring in the areas of transportation, tourism and trade. Important to note, too, is that once constructed, the bridge would not only serve as a permanent physical link between Guyana and Suriname, but also to the rest of the South American continent. This in itself would allow Guyana to access a whole host of opportunities as it relates to commerce etc.
That said, Guyana and Suriname have a history of enjoying good neighbourly relations, and there are many areas which both sides can explore to the benefit of all. For example, now that both countries have proven to have vast amounts of oil and gas resources, it would be in their interest to develop synergies and work collaboratively, especially considering the fact that they are both relatively small.
President Ali has already revealed that the two countries have recognised the need to develop synergies in relation to the oil and gas sector.
Additionally, there is need for both countries to continue working collaboratively to tackle the issue of cross-border crime. The fact that criminal elements in the past, and even now, are using the borders between the two countries to carry out criminal activities poses a serious threat to both countries’ national security.
Also, in view of the many instances, over the years, of robberies at sea, it is crucial that both countries share information and work together to address this challenge, which has been having a severe impact on the fishing industries of our countries.
It is our hope that the now concluded engagements between the Governments of Guyana and Suriname would continue to bring about positive results, as it is clear that both sides are eager to move ahead with various projects that would see a better quality of life for their citizens.